Packaging has turned out to be one of those easy-seeming things that in reality is very difficult. I had no idea when we started that with just 625 cases of wine for our first vintage, we would actually have a much harder time with labels, capsules, etc., than if we were one of the big boys.
This week we looked at capsules for our Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc. When we opened up the capsule company's cabinet to look at samples, every imaginable color was there, including clear capsules and one plastered with shooting stars, all branded with a winery's logo. Not the case for us, however.
As it turns out, the minimum order for most companies is 20,000 capsules, or 1666 cases-worth. We hope to produce that many cases about two years from now, so we had to get creative. We would up ordering stock capsules and matching the label color to them. Unfortunately, this means no logo on the top. For the next bottling, we'll start, well, now, to make sure we can find a company who will deal with our small quantities and needs.
Unfortunately, capsules aren't the only item that's tougher for small wineries. Bottles, corks, barrels, and an array of items are way more time-consuming and difficult when you don't order an entire container ship (many corks, bottles, and capsules are imported from Europe) or big rig for your own use. So respect the small producers -- they work HARD to get everything in the bottle and on the tasting bar, looking good.